Juan Manuel Padilla a judge in Colombia asked ChatGPT how to apply the law in the case of medical funding of an autistic child. The case has caused an uproar in Colombia with debates over the use of artificial intelligence in legislation.
A judge admitted to using the AI tool ChatGPT to decide whether an autistic child's insurance should cover all the costs of their treatment.
Juan Manuel Padilla, a judge in the Caribbean city of Cartagena, concluded that all of the child's medical expenses and transportation should be paid by his insurance plan, as his parents would not be able to afford it.
While the decision itself did not cause an uproar, the inclusion of Padilla's conversations with ChatGPT in the decision was unprecedented and sparked mixed reactions.
Among Padilla's questions to the chatbot, legal documents show, was: "Relieve an autistic minor from paying for his treatments?"
ChatGPT's response was also the judge's final decision: “Yes, that is correct. According to Colombian regulations, minors diagnosed with autism are exempt from paying fees for their treatments."
The case has sparked much debate about the use of artificial intelligence in law and has been criticized by some of Padilla's colleagues.
ChatGPT scans text on the web to generate informed answers, but has been shown to provide different answers to the same question. It also constructs information from time to time and responds with very inventive lies.
The nascent platform has raised alarm in recent weeks, and educational institutions, where teachers fear that the platform of OpenAI could be used by students for plagiarism.
Padilla defended the use of the technology, saying it could make Colombia's bloated legal system more efficient. The judge also used previous decisions to support his decision.
Padilla told Blu Radio on Tuesday that ChatGPT and other such programs could be useful to "facilitate writing" but "not with the aim of replacing" judges.
Padilla also insisted that "by asking questions in the app, we don't stop being judges, and thinking beings."
The judge argued that ChatGPT performs services previously provided by a clerk and does so "in a very organized, simple and structured manner" which could "improve response times" in the court system.